Cheese 101 at The Cheese Traveler

Time to catch up on a couple of posts from before we went on our Vermont vacation. I’ll get to the Founders Wild Game Dinner later on this week, but first I want to talk about The Cheese Traveler.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Eric at The Cheese Traveler has been doing some really cool things around the shop lately. I’m really sad I missed out on the grilled cheese and soup night (see Kimberly’s post here) and Chopstick’s Optional’s post on the new weekly Friday Night Cookouts has me salivating over here. Also in the works, in addition to more on cheese, are classes on balsamic and olive oil, Artisanal Foods from Spain, and my personal fave: charcuterie. A full list of upcoming events can be found at the Brown Paper Tickets page.

As for the cheese, Eric has a couple of classes and events lined up. The one Elise and I attended was Cheese 101. It was a really nice intro into cheese for noobs like us. I love cheese, but knowing why you love various types and knowing how to describe what you are looking for in a cheese is a totally different story, and a class like Cheese 101 helps fill in some of the knowledge gaps.

The class covers an extensive history and allows you to taste a few different types of milk ranging from cow, to sheep, to goat to get a little background on how each base affects the resulting cheese. Production and process of the cheese is covered as well, detailing why different cheese ends up being hard and crumbly to creamy and oozy and everything in between. A surprise cheese at the end (I’ll let you take the class to figure out which) brings you squarely back to your roots.

Bringing your own beverages is encouraged and I couldn’t help myself but to share some of my favorite farmhouse ales and ciders with Eric and Val. That night, fellow classmates quaffed mostly on wine bottles and “bubbly”.

For those of you who love cheese but are still a little intimidated by it, this was a great class to get some education on the topic. For $40 per person, it included a tasting of three different milks, 13 different cheeses, about two and a half hours of instruction, a cheese tasting notebook and 10% off your purchase that night. Well worth it for the uninitiated and a perfect date night for Elise and me. You likely won’t fill up on cheese and Bonfiglio & Bread baguette at the class, but Emack and Bolio’s is right down the street for dessert, or you could grab something off the late night menu at City Beer Hall like we did.

A follow up class called Cheese 102 is planned for next week and again in August, detailing “plating, pairing and perfection”. Those who have missed out on Cheese 101 will have another opportunity to check it out in July, which I highly recommend if, like us, you’re just diving into the world cheese.

The Cheese Traveler (link) | 540 Delaware Ave Albany, NY (map) | All The Cheese Traveler Posts

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